Porpoise problems have fishermen facing shutdown
BOSTON (AP) -- Fishermen in the Gulf of Maine are facing an annual shutdown of an important fishing area to protect the porpoise.
Federal regulators say far too many porpoises are drowning in fishing gear, specifically stationary nets called gillnets.
The estimated fatalities are so high, they triggered a provision in federal rules that will close a busy fishing ground that extends from Gloucester to southern Maine to gillnets for two months annually. The first closure starts Oct. 1 this year.
Some say fishermen are to blame for the closure because too few have complied with a requirement to put devices that drive the porpoise away at the corners of each net.
But fishermen say they've done their best to install the devices and the closure is needlessly making things worse for the struggling industry.